21 Sep 2015
This year we celebrated the 11th anniversary of PiratePalooza™ on the unfamiliar shores of downtown Atlantarrrr. This is my account of that adventure. – Captain Drew
Around 1:30 our pirates began slipping into Meehan’s Irish Pub in twos and threes, making their way down the shadowy back hallway toward the Shanghai Room where, through the use of diverse hand signals, grunts, whistles and clicks, they began to assemble into a unified group and take over the bar.
In spite of my conversations with the pubmaster leading up to this year’s Palooza I was informed by Mr. Foley and Mr. Gibbons (who arrived early to observe events) that it had quickly become apparent to them that the serving wenches would be overwhelmed by our growing army of pirates.
With only 20 minutes left before the invasion was to begin I arrived in the company of Israel Hands and Sturdy Tim (who was bearing the Palooza’s standard). Greetings were made all around. Hugs were distributed. Bosoms were ogled and bottoms were fondled. Mr. Dean Ansley from Guy Behind the Camera (one of this year’s sponsors) suddenly appeared and began snapping photographs with a camera boasting a lens the size of a twelve pounder. The remaining time flew quickly and my mates at the Foley/Gibbons table suggested that I clamber atop a bench to read the orders, discovering in the process that I need reading glasses or a larger set of invasion orders.
By the time I blundered my way through the reading of those invasion orders our ranks had swollen to more than 35 miscreants, and without hesitation (not counting potty breaks) we spilled out onto the sidewalk along Peachtree Street. Not a peach tree to be seen in any direction – talk about your false advertising!
But it was time to GO!!
Sturdy Tim leapt to the front with the legendary PiratePalooza flag swirling high in the wind and our band of cutthroats fell in step around him, ambling northward along the sidewalk, much to the confusion of the various townsfolk we encountered. The city can be a strange place filled with unpleasant smells, loud noises and urban buccaneers. Happily, I had my best cabin girl Sarah at my side, and thankfully the city seemed quiet that day, other than a few startled coachmen who threatened to overturn their autocarriages in their haste to dab at little glowing black boxes they held toward us with their free hands.
Towering over our pirate horde, Jay the Barbarian made several sage and subtly witty declarations that no one felt comfortable contradicting, mostly because they were accurate. It is good to have a Jay the Barbarian on your side. And along we marched toward our next destination: Max Lager’s Brewpub. As we entered that pub the serving crew were already directing our large party toward the back, and we settled in quickly. Billy Bones had already arrived and was tucked into a meal and a pint along with Lady Franchette and their friends. The lads from Pogue Mahone held their traditional arm-wrestling competition….
…then launched into some sea shanties, and joined by the crew their voices rang brightly in that public house.
At 4 o’clock we cleared out of Max Lager’s and ambled back south a half-block to Hardy Ivy Park, where several of our performing groups were gathered. Pogue Mahone (Tommy and Foe) took charge of the dance, forming the assembled rabble into two lines, side by side.
Meanwhile, Ed and Steve (LandLoch’d) and Becky Finch (from Linen Brocade and Half Pint) began to play a snappy little tune. Tommy led everyone through the mechanics of the dance before we began in earnest.
I don’t know how it happens, but every year I get stuck with the early drunks and the perpetually all-left-footed*, because Foe and his line beat us soundly at the reel.
The dance over, we departed from that park and crossed the street of non-existent peaches then headed into the lobby of the Hyatt Regency. It was a bright and lovely place, yet there was a lingering hint of nerd in the air and that scent grew stronger as we crossed a bridge from the Hyatt into the Marriott Marquis. With a towering 500 foot tall atrium that looks like the ribcage of a gargantuan whale, we knew that were undeniably in the belly of the beast and the heart of that beast pulsed with light and with liquor. In less than five minutes the Pulse Bar was packed with pirates.
Unlike DragonCon, PiratePalooza™ was able to provide its guests with plenty of places to sit and with enough elbow room for some proper elbow-bending… and bend our elbows we did, even as we lounged in luxury!
People wandered between the Pulse Bar and High Velocity (and boot rum), and while those places could not compare to our home port’s Brick Store or Mac McGee’s, they were gracious hosts. As Pogue Mahone ripped into a new shanty and the crew joined in, our voices soared through the building. Taking to the poop deck labeled as the “Pulse Loft”, Sturdy Tim waved PiratePalooza’s flag and we sang again, higher and louder!!! Dastardly Lawrence Fleming was told that we could be heard all the way up on the 45th floor!
And just like that, it was time for PiratePalooza™ to depart the Marriott, bound for our final destination.
As we filed out of that magnificent building someone began singing the Banana Boat Song and that’s how we left that place… “Come Mister tally man, tally me banana, daylight come and me wan’ go home…”
By the time we arrived at Trader Vic’s (via a secret back stair) the bar was already awash in pirates, from the Mai Tai Bar all the way back to the Puka Room, where the bands had finished setting up and were ready to go. Curvy asked me to say a few words and I mumbled or shouted something and exited stage left to give Tenpenny Travelers the floor.
I am indebted to these wonderfully talented collection of performers.
Tara Maurer, Ariel Kristen Kasten, Mike Quigley
Joseph Davis, Tommy Morfoot
Scurvy, Curvy, Pervy, Swervy & Topsy-Turvy
Carl Foster, Bettina Queen, Angela Pearl, Jason & Mandi
Ed Rigel, Steve Wright
Becky Cormier Finch, Wade Finch, Andy Womack
Rivka Levin Carroll, Becky Cormier Finch
Linda Hoopes, Ian O’Donnell
Naughty Nellie Peachbottom
As the bands played a few volunteers joined me in slipping away to bring over the 2015 Palooza shirts from my longboat and soon enough we were distributing them to all who had pre-ordered them and to sell the handful of extras along with the license plates. If you were unable to make the Palooza I’ll be reaching out to you soon to arrange shipping. We’ll also be doing a second print run in a few days if you missed out and would like to order a shirt (note that there will be a $5.95 shipping charge for single shirt orders, if you order a large quantity we may need to add an additional shipping fee – but let’s cross that theoretical sea when we get to it).
It was an unusual vacation but from all the photos I’ve been seeing out there it looks like everyone who attended had a fun time. PiratePalooza™ happens because of each of you – from bands to pirate crews to wenches to bananas & monkeys, so from the bottom of my pirate heart: THANK YOU for your contribution to the magic!! While we might consider another vacation in the future my primary goal is to return us to Decatarrrr in 2016. Don’t be surprised if you are called on to help in that quest.
Until next year!!!
* by “early drunks and the perpetually all-left-footed” I of course mean myself 😉